2008 Platinum Award for Utility Excellence

Winners of the 2009 AMWA Platinum Awards for Utility Excellence were:

  • Chesterfield County Department of Utilities
  • Columbus Water Works
  • Contra Costa Water District
  • District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
  • Green Bay Water Utility
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
  • City of Norfolk Department of Utilities
  • Northern Kentucky Water District
  • Spartanburg Water
  • Tualatin Valley Water District

Chesterfield County Department of Utilities is one of only a handful of utilities in the country that have a AAA bond rating from each of the three major bond rating organizations. The Virginia utility has been innovative in preserving water supplies through its water reuse agreement with Dominion Virginia Power, the largest reuse project in the commonwealth. It has also earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 10-Year Director’s Award for the Partnership for Safe Water.

Columbus Water Works (CWW) has planning vehicles in place to manage infrastructure, financial and customer requirements. A cross-section of staff members actively participate in six strategy teams, and all employees have incentives directly linked to both individual and agency performance. CWW works closely with state, regional and regulatory agencies and is committed to environmental stewardship of Georgia’s Middle Chattahoochee River Watershed.

Contra Costa Water District is actively involved in water industry research and regulation development, providing leadership to strengthen the industry as a whole. Taking a leadership role in current California and federal processes to address issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the District has provided expertise to identify projects that must be implemented immediately, long-term strategies for sustainability and funding sources for both.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority has been nationally recognized for operational and strategic excellence in information technology based on its water usage tracking and alert system that integrates its automated meter reading technology with a web-based program that lets customers track their water use and even alerts them of water usage spikes. The Authority’s customer service enhancements, coupled with its peer review research and career development programs, make it a recognized leader in the industry.

At Green Bay Water Utility, annual depreciation dollars are dedicated to system upgrades, and a formalized asset management program helps prioritize those efforts. Through its rate structure, the utility will financially account for all of the foreseeable capital improvements throughout 2032. Major water users are a key component of the Green Bay economy, and through a high quality product and stabilized rates, the water system contributes to community sustainability.

Through an effective water conservation program, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has maintained the same level of city water use provided 25 years ago despite a population increase of one million people. It also developed a blueprint for meeting the city’s future water needs solely through water recycling and conservation. The utility exercises environmental stewardship through implementation of the Lower Owens River Project, one of the world’s largest river ecosystem restoration projects.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) has master plans for its water and wastewater systems that recommend and prioritize $3.1 billion in project investments in infrastructure and equipment over the next 40 years. As demand for MWRA water continues to drop, the utility has pursued opportunities for regional cooperation and environmental remediation involving smaller neighboring communities facing unmet water resource needs.

The City of Norfolk Department of Utilities enhanced product quality by changing coagulants at its largest water treatment plant, resulting in reduced turbidity, a 20 percent reduction in disinfection byproducts and elimination of a planned $50 million future capital expenditure. Through a “New Supervisor Academy,” the Virginia utility has increased capabilities of its employees and created new positions for succession planning.

The Northern Kentucky Water District (NKWD) implemented a water main relining program and rehabilitated more than 20 miles of mains, greatly reducing complaints of discolored water. The utility’s safety record was dramatically improved by increasing the emphasis on safety training and offering in-house training directly applicable to its workforce. In addition, by leveraging its workforce’s ideas and involvement, NKWD decreased both water treatment chemical expenditures and energy costs.

Through its continuous improvement program, Spartanburg Water became a strategy-focused organization. Benefits included a more knowledgeable, diversely skilled work force; streamlined management structure; increased service area and revenue base; improved customer service; expanded water supply to meet 100-year projections; reduced environmental compliance exposure; enhanced debt service coverage and reserve funding; improved bond ratings; and a more resilient organization.

Tualatin Valley Water District adopted a 50-year water supply plan that ensures future water supplies for its fast growing service area. The Oregon utility also conducted a work force planning study, which put in place processes that will ensure a skilled and knowledgeable work force for the future, and implemented various sustainability initiatives and analyses regarding reduced carbon emissions, workplace efficiency opportunities and community involvement.